US court confirms Apple conspiracy to fix e-book prices

Apple to pay $450 million for conspiring with five publishers to raise e-book prices

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A New York appeals court on Tuesday upheld a 2013 ruling that Apple had colluded with five publishers to inflate e-book prices.

“We conclude that the district court correctly decided that Apple orchestrated a conspiracy among the publishers to raise e-book prices,” the court said in the decision.

According to the ruling, Apple will be forced to pay consumers $450 million under a 2014 settlement, unless it files another appeal and wins.

“While we want to put this behind us, the case is about principles and values,” Apple said in a statement. “We know we did nothing wrong back in 2010 and are assessing next steps.”

According to the US Justice Department, Apple tried to increase the prices of e-books from the $10 charged by Amazon to $12.99 or $14.99 by conspiring with five publishers - Hachette, Harper-Collins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster.

“The decision confirms that it is unlawful for a company to knowingly participate in a price-fixing conspiracy, whatever its specific role in the conspiracy or reason for joining it,” said US Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer.

“Because Apple and the defendant publishers sought to eliminate price competition in the sale of e-books, consumers were forced to pay higher prices for many e-book titles.”

TRTWorld and agencies